The Cranberries' Mike Hogan

Mike Hogan, the bassist of the Cranberries, the Irish alternative

pop-rock quartet that has sold millions of albums, was born 25 years ago

today. After studying electronics as a teen, Hogan, his guitarist

brother Noel and drummer Fergal Lawler formed the band in

Ballybroughan, Ireland, in 1990 as the Cranberry Saw Us. Following the

departure of the group's male singer, the remaining members placed an ad for

a female vocalist and Dolores O'Riordan responded. Her powerful voice got the

band, now renamed the Cranberries, noticed by Island Records, which signed

the group in 1991. After a disastrous first single, the bandmembers spent an

anxious year during which they considered splitting, but they eventually

rebounded with their debut album, 1993's Everybody's Doing It, So Why

Can't We?. The disc was filled with atmospheric pop-rock that came with a

Celtic twist highlighted by O'Riordan's distinctive vocals. It sold very slowly in

the U.K., where the band toured in support of Belly.

But then the Cranberries began to enjoy the luck of the Irish. One of

Everybody's singles, "Linger," became an American hit, helped by

MTV exposure and concerts in the U.S., and the album went double-platinum.

The Cranberries were now an international success. After

O'Riordan married the band's road manager, the band's follow-up videos

began to emphasize her presence, and this continued with the next

album, 1994's No Need To Argue. "Zombie," O'Riordan's political

statement on IRA bombings set to a more grunge sound, became enormously

popular and helped No Need become the best-selling album of

the year by a European artist. Despite the singer's rising profile,

which added to rumors of her leaving the band for a solo career, the

Cranberries returned with their third album, To The Faithful

Departed, in 1996. It featured heavier guitar distortion and more

politically charged lyrics, which alienated some fans. Critics carped at the

lyrics of social-commentary songs such as "I Just Shot John Lennon" and

HREF="http://www.addict.com/music/Cranberries,_The/Bosnia.ram">"Bosnia"

(RealAudio excerpt), which many found awkward and trite. Despite all

this, the

album took off well but eventually sold a little more than a million

copies, becoming the band's least popular release. During 1996, the

Cranberries canceled tours in Australia and Europe, again fueling rumors of a

breakup. They recorded Lindsey Buckingham's "Go Your Own Way" for the

1998 Lava/Atlantic release Legacy: A Tribute To Fleetwood Mac's

Rumours.

Other birthdays: Carl Gardner (Coasters), 70; Lonnie Donnegan, 67; Klaus

Voorman (Manfred Mann), 56; Tommy James, 51; William Butterworth (KLF/The

Orb), 45; and Phil King (Lush), 38.